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Baton Rouge Library : Louisiana Architecture

Architectural Development in the United States design by Trahan Architects

Sep 11, 2009

Trahan Architects Presents Designs For Downtown Library In Baton Rouge

Design: Trahan Architects

Louisiana Library Building

New library would enliven town square and create additional public space for community events

Baton Rouge Library Louisiana building

Baton Rouge Library

Baton Rouge, LA – Presenting the results of a year long feasibility study to the East Baton Rouge Parish Library Board of Control and an audience of local residents, Trahan Architects displayed conceptual designs for a renovation and expansion of the existing facility or a new library to activate a vibrant, redeveloping downtown. “Exciting” and “genius” were among the public comments used to describe the firm’s plans.

Trahan Architects, known for its sublimely minimalist work and expertise in institutional design that is forward looking and sensitive to local ecology, aspires to add a new architectural gem to the city. It aims to put the River Center Branch Library at the core of the downtown community’s cultural activities by creating a technologically advanced building with functional public spaces. The new library stands at the intersection between civic buildings and the city’s arts and entertainment district; Trahan’s designs draw from this site, which overlooks a new town square, and its relationship to the Mississippi River.

The firm presented three proposals which are variations of a newly designed building that can be pared down to meet budgetary constraints. The first option calls for the renovation of the existing building with an increase in usable square footage – 26,000 to 32,000 square feet – achieved by infilling the atrium and adding a large staircase to connect all four floors. The second option is the renovation and expansion of the building with an addition that increases the square footage to 56,000 square feet. The third option is the construction of a new state-of-the-art facility.

Trahan’s concept for the new building was inspired by the pages of a worn book and addresses the role of the library as a cultural arts center in modern society. The rippled translucent skin exposes the movement of the people inside and activates the building’s exterior, allowing the library’s appearance to change with the time of day, from a daytime center of activity to glowing lantern on the river. LED screens embedded throughout the facade create a media platform to communicate library and/or community events. The outdoor spaces include a number of reading areas and an urban patio that encourages patronage.

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As a starting point for the design, the firm studied the history of Western libraries and the spatial changes that corresponded to advances in media and technology. The existing library was built in the late modernist era of the1970’s, a time which accompanied a major shift in media with the advent of the cassette, VHS, and the microfiche. The firm’s plan for the library’s interior space is focused on updating the library’s design to complement current technology, create circulation patterns that place stationary structures in the center of the floors and create space for staff and patron interaction, with movable parts and multiple paths along the perimeter.

Trey Trahan said the project would be a “vibrant addition to Baton Rouge’s downtown – both a place for learning and a place for gathering.” The Library’s board is expected to select one of the options within the next three to four months.

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Trahan Architects

Location: Baton Rouge, Louisiana, United States of America

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About Trahan Architects

Trahan Architects, an award-winning firm led by Victor F. “Trey” Trahan, FAIA, has received international acclaim for work that is at once intensely personal, historically grounded, and aesthetically sublime.

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